Saturday, February 07, 2004

Book Review - God's Choice: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christain School by Alan Peshkin

Book Review - God's Choice: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christain School by Alan Peshkin. I found this book review. It is an interesting look at a book which examines Christian fundamentalist education.

From the site:

Alan Peshkin wrote God's Choice: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School in the 80s. Nonetheless, the forces that shaped the forming and operation of the anonymous "Bethany Baptist Academy" are still very much an issue today. While new possibilities such as charter schools give parents more control over the education of their children, only private endeavors can possibly offer a parent from a Christian Fundamentalist background the type of schooling that Peshkin described today. And the appeal for some goes beyond the escape from the secular world. The school that Peshkin described has all the elements of a successful school: institutional unity of purpose, a dedicated faculty, strong discipline, rigorous homework, and committed parents. As Bethany Baptist Academy is probably not alone in its success, it is useful to ponder the implications of the success of the fundamentalist private school.

Bethany Baptist Academy has no confusion as to the mission that drives it. The goal is to prepare students to be successful in a world that they intend to be apart from. "Separate from the world-in it but not of it" is the driving principle. Students should come to be "saved", lead wholesome lives, witness their faith to non-believers, and at the same time maintain their distance from the secular world. And, the student has to be taught to do this while they also learn to interact and live in a secular world that will daily challenge their lifestyles. Both the faculty and parents of Bethany strongly believe in this purpose and the message in constantly reinforced in all aspects of the curriculum and at home.

This type of schooling is bound to bother some educators. Students are not taught to value viewpoints that differ from the biblical interpretations of their teachers. Critical thinking skills are only sharpened to question in biblically and politically correct tones. Cultural diversity is not valued when most religious perspectives (and all but one sexual one) are taught to be incorrect. Further, state regulations for schools are ignored. This is problematic to those who believe in teacher certification and state assessment of scholastic achievement of students. The success and proliferation of schools such as Bethany is a direct challenge to many educators.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Guidelines for Starting an Elementary School Foreign Language Program.

Guidelines for Starting an Elementary School Foreign Language Program. Many of us wish to teach foreign languages to primary school students. This article gives ideas for starting these types of programs.

From the site:

In the past decade, schools have demonstrated increased interest in beginning the study of foreign languages in the early grades. Influencing this trend are a number of national reports urging that the study of languages other than English begin early (Met & Rhodes, 1990). Another influence on the trend toward an early start is research that indicates that the early study of a second language results in cognitive benefits, gains in academic achievement, and positive attitudes toward diversity (Rosenbusch, 1995).

Perhaps the most important influence on early foreign language study will come from the national initiative, Goals 2000. In this initiative, foreign languages are designated as part of the core curriculum, together with traditional subject areas such as math, science, and social studies. As part of this initiative, the foreign language profession has developed national standards for foreign language programs beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade. Although these standards are not mandatory, they are certain to increase even further the interest in starting foreign language study in the early grades (Phillips & Draper, 1994).

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Mrs. Griffin's Kindergarten Page

Mrs. Griffin's Kindergarten Page For Kindergarten students, parents, and teachers. Contains several thematic units, photos, activities and strategies, a full-day schedule, and links for kids and teachers.

From the site:

Hi, My name is Amy Griffin. I have currently become the Pre-K Coordinator for Nottoway County Public Schools. I have taught in Nottoway for 11 years. I plan to keep this page for Kindergarten students, parents, and teachers. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about anything on here please feel free to e mail me! Hopefully I will eventually make a page for the Pre-K Programs in our county!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Foreign Language Program Articulation: Building Bridges from Elementary to Secondary School.

Foreign Language Program Articulation: Building Bridges from Elementary to Secondary School. If you teach children foreign languages in elementary school, they probably will do better with the foreign languages in high school. It sure makes sense to me.

From the site:

Foreign languages are currently enjoying attention unparalleled since the heyday of the early 1960s. There is a renewed interest in and emphasis on elementary school programs that are generally referred to under the broad heading of Foreign Languages in the Elementary School, or FLES. The emphasis on FLES in the 60s did not lead to the anticipated proliferation of second language programs because of a lack of realistic program goals and adequate planning, inattention to sound curricula and appropriate instructional materials, and failure to place qualified teachers in FLES classrooms. It is crucial, therefore, that current attention focus on these elements which are so vital to successful FLES programs. Even with these elements carefully in place, articulation remains a critical factor in the development of a successful K-12 language program.

WHAT IS FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAM ARTICULATION?

For the educational practitioner, articulation is the process of providing a smooth and logical transition from an elementary to a secondary program and ensuring continuity from one FLES classroom to another. This kind of academic sequencing provides opportunities for those students with both the interest and ability to continue their elementary school language study at the secondary level. Articulation can be viewed from two perspectives: horizontal and vertical.

"Horizontal articulation" focuses on outcomes, teaching strategies, materials, and evaluation within a course level. If language instruction is offered in more than one elementary school in a district, such instruction should be based on a common curriculum. Teachers from different schools (or classrooms) must address the same objectives at each course level, while utilizing similar strategies and instructional materials.